ISLAMABAD: Opening of the longest motorway in Pakistan— between Multan and Sukkur, was expected this month but has been delayed for another three to four months as China wants more time for transfer of machinery and a grand inaugural ceremony, sources said.
At a recent meeting at the Ministry of Planning and Development and Reforms, Chinese representatives opposed the opening of 392 kms long Multan-Sukkur Motorway (M-5), saying that it needed more time to transfer/remove machinery and other equipment from the project.
“Apart from some necessary arrangements, the Chinese side wants grand opening of the project, which is the biggest transport infrastructure built under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). However, the government is not interested in arranging a grand inaugural ceremony of the project,” said a reliable source at the planning ministry.
“The ministry of communication wanted a soft opening of the project for light traffic this month as work on the M-5 was completed. Through the soft opening the ministry and National Highway Authority (NHA) wanted to allow only private vehicles,” said the sources adding that under the soft opening heavy traffic was not to be allowed until the motorway was formally inaugurated.
“It seems the government did not want to give credit to the previous government for the project by arranging a mega event that would turn heads and draw attention to the motorway,” said another source at the ministry.
Since the completion of work on the project, the public has been wishing to travel between Sukkur and Multan and contacting NHA and communication ministry for permission.
The 6-lane Multan-Sukkur motorway is an integral link of CPEC that will reduce travelling time between Multan and Sukkur a considerable extent.
M-5 will not only accelerate industrial growth but agricultural sector will also be benefitted at large. The M-5 will pave the way for socio-economic uplift in Punjab and Sindh.
The project is a part of the Peshawar-Karachi Motorway and was designed for speeds of up to 120 km/h. The total cost of the mega project was around $2.89 billion. The motorway starts from Multan and passes through Jalalpur, Peerwala, Ahmed Pur East, Rahimyar Khan, Sadiqabad, Ubaro, and Pano Aqil to finally end at Sukkur.